27th Apr

Wasps Launches 6.50% Secured Bonds due 2022

Aviva Premiership rugby club Wasps today became the first sports business to launch a retail bond when it announced a seven year 6.5% Sterling Bond.   

With a target to raise £35 million, the deal is set to catapult the ambitious club to the top of the sport’s rich list rivalling France’s rugby noblesse Toulouse, Toulon and Stade Francaise.   

A special purpose vehicle, Wasps Finance Ltd, has been established to issue the bonds which are secured against Wasps Holdings and Arena Coventry Ltd (ACL).   

The bonds which trade on London Stock Exchange’s Order Book for Retail Bonds pay interest semi-annually on 13th November and 13th May and are due to pay back in full on 13th May 2022.   

Minimum investment is £2,000 with increments of £100 thereafter; Investec is lead manager on the issue with authorised distribution via Barclays, Interactive Investor, Redmayne Bentley, Selftrade and Shareview.   

In autumn 2014, Wasps acquired the Ricoh Arena from ACL, one of the UK’s leading sports, exhibition, conferencing and events arenas. Its facilities include a 32,600-seater stadium, a concert venue of 40,500 capacity, hosting acts such as Coldplay, Take That and Bruce Springsteen, a 6,000 sq m indoor facility that can host up to 12,000 people, as well as a casino, two restaurants, 121 room hotel and over twenty retail, food and beverage outlets.   

On the pitch Wasps have enjoyed a good season in both domestic and European competitions this year and the acquisition of Ricoh Arena has created a broad based business with diverse revenue streams to support it.   

David Armstrong, Group Chief Executive of Wasps said ‘We are delighted to announce the launch of Wasps’ debut retail bond, which will be tradeable on the London Stock Exchange’s Order Book for Retail Bonds and is the first transaction of its kind for the sports industry’.   

‘The move to the Ricoh Arena was transformational for Wasps and our new home provides us with multiple income streams and the opportunity to create of one of the UK’s premier sport, business and entertainment complexes, while offering sponsors and partners the exciting opportunity to get involved with the new second home of English rugby.’   

‘This is another step in achieving our aim of creating a long-term sustainable business model’ Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live about the move Mr Armstrong stated that the bond will ‘restructure the balance sheet’ and ‘put the club on a much firmer financial footing going forward’. 

He also revealed that the club were about to sign a further ‘marquee’ player, alongside future investment in backroom and conditioning staff. 

In a forthcoming interview Mr Bond speaks exclusively to David Armstrong about Wasps work hard play hard ethos as it seeks to create a profitable and sustainable business away from the pitch as well as a winning team on it.  

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